One of the biggest challenges to any training program is budget. In today’s environment, training budgets have been slashed and it may be difficult to obtain further funding. And in those budget cuts, sometimes only the most essential of training programs can continue to be offered. So the challenge for a global leadership program may be obtaining a budget, much less obtaining more money to complete the program. One of the first considerations in the area of budget is simply whether or not the budget can support a global scale leadership development program. If the answer is questionable, you may have to work hard to obtain buy in, which we will discuss in the future.
To begin looking at your budget possibilities, you probably will want to determine how you will create your leadership bench, as well as how you will train and coach those individuals. If you have made this determination, consider creating a matrix of training and coaching methods, as well as network and group meeting costs. Tailor your matrix to your optimal situation and then work your way down the list, eliminating the areas that prove to be too costly. When you take the time to complete this exercise, you’ll know exactly what to ask for-and how to explain the costs of the program.
Sometimes you may be able to be creative when working with a budget and training methodologies. For example, if you had your heart set on having in person meetings between the members of the leadership program, but the cost of travel is too high, think about how you can substitute another methodology. In the case of travel or in-person meetings, consider substituting web conferencing. Determine the cost and then see how well the new methodology fits into your program. In today’s environment, don’t shut your organization out of a beneficial program simply because it doesn’t quite fit the way you envisioned it. If you absolutely need to ask for more money, you’ll need to make the determination of how the desired leadership program meets organizational needs-and helps the organization to achieve its goals. We’ll talk about this when we discuss the challenge of obtaining buy-in for your program.
Facing a workforce with a new or improved program, especially a leadership development program, is a challenge that is often related to budgets. In some cases, you may have to take the program that the budget allows, although it may not be exactly what you wanted, and ‘sell’ it to the audience. As with any program, the best way to do this is to concentrate on the benefits that can be obtained from being involved with the program. But since this is a global program, your approach may have to be different for each organization, business unit, or region. You’ve already analyzed what learning methodologies ‘speak’ to certain audiences. Plus, you’ve investigated the cultures of each of your audiences. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to deal with the workforce in a way that is appropriate to them.
Obviously, if the concept of leadership development is new to the audience, you may have to take special care in the delivery of your message. For example, some audiences may feel that they are doing just fine without the leadership program. Or they may see the program as too exclusive or even as an interruption to their everyday jobs. Again, the best way to deal with this challenge is to explain the program in terms of benefits that are appropriate to the audience.
In some ways, the prospect of the challenge posed by budgets and audiences may be enough to convince you to put your program on hold. Try not to let this challenge disturb you to that point. In today’s environment, leadership at all levels is a necessity, just like new hire orientation or regulatory training. If you feel like this challenge may be too much to overcome, sit down and analyze the situation. Understand that after a leadership program is underway, the organization will benefit from succession planning, retention, and interest in furthering careers instead of looking for the next best position. And most likely, these benefits will occur in all regions and at all levels.
Next, we will take a look at obtaining buy in for a global leadership development program.